A temporary restraining order (TRO) is given to an alleged victim when it appears that they may be in danger of being harmed. A restraining order is a legal order of protection to prevent the accused from having any contact with the victim. Only a judge can issue a temporary restraining order.
The hearing for a restraining order is “ex parte,” which means it is held without you being present. Typically, the order is issued when the plaintiff proves there’s a need for legal protection. It does not take very much evidence for an order of protection to be issued.
You will not know you have a temporary restraining order against you until you receive the order. The plaintiff is told not to contact you, and it is up to the local police to inform you. If you are living with the the one accusing you, the authorities will come and remove you from your home. Also, any weapons such as firearms that are in your possession are taken from you.
If a temporary restraining order is filed against you, you should seek immediate legal assistance. You have a chance to defend yourself at a hearing on whether the restraining order will be permanent or not. Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith will assist you in preparing and proving your case.
Final Restraining Order
A temporary restraining order is valid for 10 days. At the time the judge issues the temporary order they will also set a hearing date to decide if a final restraining is required. The hearing is where you are allowed to present your case. There are some common mistakes people make with a final restraining order such as appearing without an attorney or incriminating themselves in their testimony.
A final restraining order has severe consequences. With this type of order, you are subjected to:
- Your name on a central registry for individuals with domestic violence restraining orders against them
- Firearm restrictions. You’re not able to possess a gun or a firearms purchaser identification card
- Not returning to your home (if you share it with the victim)
- Having your visitation with your children curtailed (if you have children with the plaintiff)
- Future legal troubles if the order is violated, even if it’s accidental
Penalties for Violating a Restraining Order in NJ
If a final restraining order is granted, you must stay away from the plaintiff for the designated time required. If the order is violated, you will be charged with criminal contempt and any additional offense that occurred at the time of the violation. Since it is a fourth degree crime, you face:
- Up to 18 months in prison
- Fines up to $25,000
- A minimum of 30 days in prison which must be served
- Additional fines
In the final restraining order hearing, the victim likely will have a restraining order attorney to help present their case. You should have legal representation too. Fontanella, Benevento, Galluccio & Smith has experienced attorneys who are ready to present your side at a final restraining order hearing.